Jim Bouton, former pitcher, 'Ball Four' author, dies at 80

Share

Former New York Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, whose irreverent, raunchy baseball memoir, "Ball Four", attracted both hostility and acclaim, died on Wednesday at his home in MA, according to media reports.

Mr. Bouton spent that season collecting quotes, notes and anecdotes about life in the big leagues for his acclaimed book Ball Four. He passed today in MA from a brain disease linked to dementia.

Bouton pitched 10 years in the major leagues, including seven with the Yankees where he made one All-Star team and was a member of the 1962 World Series champions. Bouton finished his 10-year career with a record of 62-63 and an ERA of 3.57.

Following his decade in pro baseball, Bouton penned a juicy tell-all titled Ball Four that pulled back the curtain and revealed the inner workings of a life inside a major-league clubhouse.

According to the Daily News, the controversial smash hit was the "only sports book cited when the New York Public Library drew up its list of the best books of the 20th century".

He suffered two strokes in 2012.

In 1963 he went 21-7 with six shutouts and lost a 1-0 World Series decision to the Dodgers' Don Drysdale.

After being alienated for a number of years, the Newark-native was finally invited back to Old-Timers' Day at Yankee Stadium in 1998. A year later, Bouton's record was 18-13 with a 3.02 ERA and he won a pair of World Series starts against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Mr. Bouton injured his right arm in 1965, going 4-15 that season, and saw limited action the next three seasons with NY.

Bouton was approached in 1968 by New York Post sports writer Leonard Shecter about writing a tell-all book, and he agreed. He joined the Braves in 1978, at the age of 39 after developing a knuckle ball and after having been out of the majors since 1970.

Following his career, Bouton did a little acting, he was a NY sportscaster for a time, he was the inventor of "Big League Chew" - a shredded bubble gum that resembled chewing tobacco - plus he co-authored baseball novel "Strike Zone" and he wrote a fictional baseball ball that was titled "Foul Ball". He pitched at Western Michigan University before signing with the Yankees in 1958.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Share